Navigation Links
Scientists capture the first image of memories being made
Date:6/18/2009

This release is available in French.

The ability to learn and to establish new memories is essential to our daily existence and identity; enabling us to navigate through the world. A new study by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro), McGill University and University of California, Los Angeles has captured an image for the first time of a mechanism, specifically protein translation, which underlies long-term memory formation. The finding provides the first visual evidence that when a new memory is formed new proteins are made locally at the synapse - the connection between nerve cells - increasing the strength of the synaptic connection and reinforcing the memory. The study published in Science, is important for understanding how memory traces are created and the ability to monitor it in real time will allow a detailed understanding of how memories are formed.

When considering what might be going on in the brain at a molecular level two essential properties of memory need to be taken into account. First, because a lot of information needs to be maintained over a long time there has to be some degree of stability. Second, to allow for learning and adaptation the system also needs to be highly flexible.

For this reason, research has focused on synapses which are the main site of exchange and storage in the brain. They form a vast but also constantly fluctuating network of connections whose ability to change and adapt, called synaptic plasticity, may be the fundamental basis of learning and memory.

"But, if this network is constantly changing, the question is how do memories stay put, how are they formed? It has been known for some time that an important step in long-term memory formation is "translation", or the production, of new proteins locally at the synapse, strengthening the synaptic connection in the reinforcement of a memory, which until now has never been imaged," says Dr. Wayne Sossin, neuroscientist at The Neuro and co-investigator in the study. "Using a translational reporter, a fluorescent protein that can be easily detected and tracked, we directly visualized the increased local translation, or protein synthesis, during memory formation. Importantly, this translation was synapse-specific and it required activation of the post-synaptic cell, showing that this step required cooperation between the pre and post-synaptic compartments, the parts of the two neurons that meet at the synapse. Thus highly regulated local translation occurs at synapses during long-term plasticity and requires trans-synaptic signals."

Long-term memory and synaptic plasticity require changes in gene expression and yet can occur in a synapse-specific manner. This study provides evidence that a mechanism that mediates this gene expression during neuronal plasticity involves regulated translation of localized mRNA at stimulated synapses. These findings are instrumental in establishing the molecular processes involved in long-term memory formation and provide insight into diseases involving memory impairment.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anita Kar
anita.kar@mcgill.ca
514-398-3376
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists sequence genome of the N2-fixing, soil-living bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii
2. Horse whisperers, lion tamers not needed: Scientists find genetic regions that soothe savage beasts
3. Scientists should look at their own carbon footprint
4. Scientists tackle the mystery of white-nose syndrome in bats
5. Scientists examine perceptions of risk and the spread of disease
6. Scientists discover new genetic immune disorder in children
7. Scientists uncover mode of action of enzyme linked with several types of cancer
8. Scientists unravel the mystery of white-nose syndrome
9. Seventy-three scientists elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
10. Scientists examine human behavior and the threat of disease
11. Singapore scientists elected into National Academy of Sciences
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists capture the first image of memories being made
(Date:12/6/2016)... , Dec. 6, 2016 Valencell , the ... it has seen a third consecutive year of triple ... technology in 2016 with a 360 percent increase in ... This increase was driven by sales of its wrist ... interest in its technology for hearables for fitness and ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... , Dec. 5, 2016  The Office of ... published "Can CT Scans Enhance or Replace Medico ... potential of supporting or replacing forensic autopsies with ... scan. In response to recommendations made ... exploring using CT scans as a potential component ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Texas , Dec. 1, 2016   ... today announced BioLock , an electrocardiogram (ECG) ... health monitoring, a key IoT asset. The smart ... into a vehicle,s steering wheel and mobile devices ... simple touch. As vehicle technology advances, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016 Regen BioPharma Inc. (OTCQB: ... of Molecular Sciences a team of scientists in ... have demonstrated that expression of NR2F6 in patients with early ... NR2F6 in patient,s cervical cancer tissue as well as in ... "This is an interesting study and the first that I ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... early access program for SmartBiome -- a novel metagenomic deep-sequencing research platform. ... enrichment and detection of hundreds of different genes. The selective early access ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... Group, the world’s largest privately-held contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing organisation, ... leading biopharma outsourcing company combining a leading CRO and the industry’s only ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... plasma technology platforms, announced today that the company has engaged in a collaborative ... Development Agreement (MRDA) with the CSU Office of the Vice President for Research. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: